Category: Science & Environment

climate change, warming, water, nature, fracking, pollution, bio-diversity

BP Settlement Leaves Most Complex Claims Unresolved

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica, March 3, 2012, 4:53 p.m. BP’s announcement that it will pay $7.8 billion to compensate thousands of Gulf Coast residents harmed in the Deepwater Horizon disaster ends one chapter of legal wrangling over the 2010 oil spill, but leaves other, potentially far more expensive, issues unresolved. The tentative deal, announced late…

Fracking: The Music Video

by Eric Umansky, ProPublica, May 12, 2011, 9:29 a.m.

Have you been curious what all the hubbub on “fracking” is about? Here is a fabulous music video explaining it:

Here’s more about the video, which was done by David Holmes and other talented journalism students at Jay Rosen’s NYU’s Studio 20. It was part of their collaboration with us to build better explanations for stories. For more on fracking, its lack of regulation, and the potential for drinking water contamination, check out our now nearly three-year running investigation.


NJ Senator Lautenberg Introduces Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would reform the thirty-plus year old Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), which is woefully inadequate and has allowed tens of thousands of industrial chemicals to be introduced into the marketplace without rigorous testing for safety to human health.

Some of the health issues traceable to environmental toxins include growing rates of asthma, diabetes, infertility, learning and developmental disorders like autism and certain cancers.

The original TSCA grandfathered in 62,000 industrial chemicals that were in use in 1976. Their safety has never been reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Because the law requires the EPA to prove the harmfulness of a toxic substance, the EPA has only been able to successfully restrict the use of a handful of substances known to be toxic to human health. There is currently no burden on companies to prove that the chemicals they use in their products are safe. In fact, the exact chemical ingredients of many products are kept secret from consumers.

The Safe Chemicals Act would change that. It would require manufacturers to prove that the chemicals they use are not harmful. It would give the EPA more power to restrict unsafe uses. And it would provide the public with much more information about the chemicals in their lives. One significant provision is that the Act would require limiting exposure to some of the worst chemicals- chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBTs).

Gulf’s Delacroix Islanders Watch As Their World Disappears

by Kim Barker, ProPublica, April 13, 2011, 12:05 p.m. Jason Melerine was born to the water. His father fished, his grandfather fished, his great-grandfather fished. At age 11, Melerine drew pictures of the boat he would someday own. The day he turned 16, he quit school to go crabbing. Now 28, he can barely read…

Multiple Stressors Indicated in Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

Scientists have sequenced the bee genome and studied a multitude of pathogens from the varroa mite to the Nosema ceranae, to the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IVAP), as well as other environmental stressors such as pesticides to explain bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is the phenomenon where worker bees in a hive vanish, leading…

As BP Works Through Backlog, Cleanup Worker Illness Stats Triple Since Prior Report

by Marian Wang, ProPublica, June 23, 2010, 9:08 a.m. Following criticism and questions about its illness data, Deepwater Horizon Unified Command–a response center involving BP, Transocean, Halliburton, the Coast Guard and multiple federal agencies–appears to have tweaked its recording of worker illnesses in the Gulf. In doing so, its illness statistics have more than tripled…